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ISF Structure and Development February 2013

 ISF Organization Feb2013

ISF Planned Structure (Missing or incomplete elements color coded)


The Iraqi Security Forces are still a work in progress.  While they are capable of internal security, the ISF is not capable of a successful external defense against any neighbors.  Iraqi Ministry of Defense (IMoD) continues to officially claim they will meet the 2020 target date for completing external defense upgrades but, unofficial IMoD estimates are 2024-2027.


Joint Command Structure:  Most of the various ISF Services and service headquarters do not direct the combat forces in the field.  The Operational and Area Commands fill the role of Joint Army/Corps commands operating under the National Operations Command.  These headquarters are mostly complete except for a proposed merger of Ninawa and Anbar Operational Commands into Jazeera Operational Command.  All subordinate units to these Joint Operational and Area Commands are trained, equipped, and provided by the service component commands.


Iraqi Army (IA) Ground Forces:  The IA is in the process of converting to external defense.  While all Battalions and Brigades are structurally complete – most combat Battalions/Brigades are planned to convert.  The IA has only 10 Tank Regiments [Battalions] of the 61 needed to fill out the planned 3 Armor and 8 Mechanized Divisions.  Discounting the light APCs, the IA has 35 of 71 planned Mechanized Battalions.  At Division-level the IA is still missing 50 percent of its planned artillery and Engineers plus their logistics support units.  Division Anti-Tank elements are planned but not formed.  The IA Corps-level combat support units and augment units to the FP for external defense have only started forming [Artillery, Mortars, Anti-Aircraft, Anti-Tank, etc]. 


Air Defense Command (ADC):   The IA ADC was only established in 2011.  At this point ADC only has 2 of 4 planned Sector Operations Centers operational, no surface to air missiles, and has only started fielding salvaged anti-aircraft guns.  Iraq has no real air defense.


Army Air Corps (AAC):  The AAC is the rotary-wing force supporting the ground forces.  The AAC is currently composed of 10 Squadrons of a planned 23-24.  Only 1 Combat Aviation Brigade has been reported of 7 planned.   Each Combat Aviation Brigade is to have 1 Scout, 1 Attack, and 1 Transport Squadron.  The AAC College at Habbaniyah includes an Aviation Training Brigade(-).


Iraqi Air Force (IqAF):  The IqAF is still in its infancy - Only 7 of 24-25 Squadrons planned.  Effectively the IqAF is a training, transport, and reconnaissance force with little to no air defense or ground attack capability.  Over the next 2 years the IA is expected to add a Jet Training Squadron and a Fighter Squadron with another Fighter squadron to follow 2 years later.  A minimum of 5 Fighter Squadrons are required for the air defense of Iraq – which means the IqAF is 10-12 years from having a minimum air defense at this rate of fighter purchases.


Iraqi Navy/Marines (IqN/IqM):  The Iraqi Navy and Marines is organized into a Naval Brigade and a Marine Brigade with signs of additional Naval and Marine Brigades being formed.  Probable planned end force is a Naval Division and a Marine Division.


Iraqi General Depot Command (IGDC):  The IGDC provides the Army-/Corps-level logistic support to the Operational Forces and trains/equips the divisional/brigade level IA logistics brigades/battalions.  4 of 6 planned National Depots [Corps Sustainment Brigades] are formed or forming.  [The seventh is provided by the FP.]  At the Army-Level the Taji Joint Base Factory Complex [2 Brigades] provides the Maintenance support – might expand further. 


Iraqi Training and Doctrine Command (ITDC):  ITDC is structurally complete.  Provides training from Basic to Advanced.


Counter Terrorism Service (CTS):  The CTS is the parent service for the Iraqi Special Operations Force.  Normally ISOF is under NOC and has dedicated AAC aviation support from the 32nd Aviation Brigade.  ISOF would provide Commando Brigades to the Corps in wartime for recon and airmobile special operations support.  8-9 of 21 planned combat Battalions are operational – 2 of 7 planned Combat Brigades.


Federal Police (FP):  The FP is absorbing the province paramilitary Emergency Police and reorganizing into 14 Divisions each with 4 FP and 1 administratively attached Emergency Response Brigade.  ERBs are normally under direct command of NOC while the FP Divisions are under the Operational and Area Commands.  While enough EP Brigades have been “nationalized” to provide line forces for 6 FP Divisions, only 4 of 14 planned FP [Motorized Infantry] Divisions have been reported commissioned.  [16 Divisions if the KRG Task Force Police were added.]  Divisional Support Brigades are well under strength in the 4 existing FP Divisions.  The FP also has enough elements to form 2 Security Divisions.  The FP Sustainment Brigade provides the 7th Corps-level logistic support and the FP Divisions provide Infantry forces [augmented by IA FA, AAA, AT and support] in wartime.  The IA provides the heavies and the FP provides the infantry line in the Frontal Corps during an external war.


Department of Border Enforcement (DBE):  Even in peacetime, the DBE focus is on border security.  Most DBE is static security operating out of border forts but there are some motorized and maritime forces.  DBE Regions I, II, and IV are each divisional in strength while seriously short logistics support.  Regions III and V are only a division in strength when combined.  [Of note, Region I is under de facto control of the KRG.]


Oil Police Directorate (OPD) and Facilities Protection Service (FPS):  Organized into 4 OPD and 3 FPS Divisions, these forces are static internal security forces and not under the Operational Commands.  These services are unlikely to be used in external defense.  Structure of these forces and current status has not been reported.


Kurdish Forces:  Effectively an IA Frontal-Army equivalent force.  Still in training and short armor compared to the IA, the Kurdish Regional Guard is a Mountain Infantry Army of 2 forming Corps – 5 active and 2 reserve Division-equivalents.  [The only authorized reserve military in Iraq.]  The 2 Task Force Police Divisions are equivalent to FP and were to become FP Divisions at one time – cadre elements received Carabiniere training at FP Schools in Baghdad.  Iraqi DBE Region I is de facto under Kurdish Regional Government control.  The KRG even operates its own Oil Police and Facilities Protection Service.


The ISF is a work in progress – at least 1, probably 2 decades from completion.



Iraqi Army Armor Update February 2013

Iraq Order of Battle


very concise update as always. if the government does increase funding in the short term, they may be able to meet their final target by 2022 though in my view. but with elections coming up this possibility is far fetched...

sheytanelkebir (02/22/2013 07:23:00)

DJ Elliott